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Ethiopia can’t promise restoration of mobile internet, social media – Danish diplomat

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

The Danish ambassador to Ethiopia, Mette Thygesen, has disclosed that the Ethiopian government has failed to give concrete promises on when mobile internet and social media service will be restored.

Thygesen who is the Danish representative for Djibouti, South Sudan and Sudan said the move was disclosed when the Ministry of Communication held a briefing in the capital Addis Ababa to update diplomats on the state of affairs in the country.

The government shutdown mobile data and social media in the wake of protests that followed a deadly stampede at the Irreecha festival in the restive Oromia region. Access to fixed line internet was relaxed but mobile internet remains off.

Ethiopians have had to deal with internet cuts since late last year when anti-government protests – largely organized via social media – hit the Amhara region. The protests extended to the Oromia region this year.

The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have called on the government to restore internet access. The United States (US) Department of State in a statement released on Wednesday said it was concerned over developments in the country.

‘‘We are troubled by the potential impact of the decision to authorize detention without a warrant and to further limit freedom of expression, including by blocking Internet access, prohibiting public gatherings, and imposing curfews,’‘ the statement said.

The government has in the past stated that the only condition for the restoration will be ‘when it is safe.’ Internet users in the capital and other regions have confirmed that the internet shutdown is still on.

People also report that there is heavy security deployment in several areas across the country. Heavily armed men are seen conducting raids and search campaigns. The country imposed a six month state of emergency to quell protests.


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